Saturday, February 12, 2011

dhaka city attractive place



 Dhaka, the Capital of Bangladesh, founded in 1608 has an exciting history and rich cultural heritage. It is intersected by the rivers Buriganga. The total area of the city is approximately 1400 sq. km., with a population of 10 million. It was adorned with the glory of being the capital of the region when it was successively under the Mughal and the British rules. It used to be known as the city of mosques and is called the city of rickshaws. These days it looks chaotic with more vehicles running and building constructed, but the "chaos" is not a decadent one, it is rather solely positive. Paintings on buses and rickshaws are of people's dream, and the city is really bustling. Some of the outstanding attractions of the city are; -

Sadarghat river port: It is situated on the bank of the river Buriganga. For a visitor, there await an amazing scene with different types of boats, - uncovered and covered boats, cargo boats, speedboats, tugs, and motor launches- going in every direction. Regular services by motor launches including passenger and cargo to Southern towns leave every day in the afternoon. Paddle Steamer service introduced during the colonial period is still in service to most of the towns in its route up to Khulna is also operated from this river port. Paddle system steamer service for passenger service is obsoleting now a days in other countries. A trip by Paddle Steamer will enable a guest to enjoy the riverine beauty including the countryside of Bangladesh.

Ahsan manzil:  Khwaja Alimullah bought some properties including this building from the French traders in 1835, which was originally owned by Zaminder Seikh Enayetullah. It was renovated in 1872 by Nawab Abdul Ghani and named Ahsan Manzil after his son Nawab Ahsanullah. It is a magnificent pink-coloured building with an imposing staircase leading to the upper floor, and a lofty dome tops it. In each of the 23 grand rooms there is a photograph of the room dating back from around 1902, and these photos allowed the accurate restoration of the furnishings and draperies. The ancestors of the Khwaja Alimullah came from Kashmir in search of fortune. The Nawabs played a significant role during their regime around 100 year, uplifting the life style of the people as they were the pioneer to provide the following services; - Electricity, Health care system, Sanitation, School and colleges, Parks, River-reforms, Banking, etc. It has been turned to a museum, which will give a good insight into the life of the ruling classes of Bengal during the British Raj, with historical background to the building and period, and displays of items found on the site.  It can be visited Saturday-Wednesday from 1030am to 5:30pm and Friday from 4-7pm.

Star mosque: Zaminder Mirza Ghulam Pir built this mosque in the early 18th century. Later a local businessman, Ali Jan Bepary renovated this mosque, a glittering star pattern mosaic with Japanese and English china clay tiles during 1926. This is the most beautifully decorated mosque in Bangladesh. It is distinctive for its low-slung style and the absence of minaret. Originally it was built with four corner towers in Mughal style. During the renovation and redecoration the building was substantially altered. A close look will reveal that the tiles illustrated with pictures of Mt. Fuji.

Armenian church: Armenians started coming to Dhaka in the 17th century and they were   concentrated in the old part of the city, which was later named Armanitola after the colony of Armenian families. This church was built in 1781 on the ruins of an earlier chapel. It has a balcony and wooden pews seat for 100 people. In 1837 a steeple serving as a clock tower was added, which collapsed during the earthquake of 1897. The church is in a reasonably good shape.  It is open everyday, except when the caretaker leaves the premises.

Dhakeswari temple:  It is the oldest Hindu temple in Dhaka and was established in the 11th century.  By some accounts it is said that Dhaka city originates its name from the Dhakeswari temple.  The temple is visited every day by number of devotees to make offering to the goddess. It can be visited any day.

Lalbagh fort: Prince Mohammed Azam, 3rd son of Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb, started building the Fort Aurangabad in 1678. As he left Dhaka, handed it over to Nawab Shaista Khan, the next governor, for completion. He continued the work, but due to premature death of his beloved daughter Bibi Pari, all building activities were suspended, considering it as inauspicious to continue to work. Outstanding among the monuments of the Lalbagh fort are a small three-domed elegant mosque, the mausoleum of Bibi Pari; and the Audience Hall and Hammam complex is now housing a museum. When the fort was built, the river Buriganga used to flow very close to the Lalbagh fort to the South.  It can be visited from Sunday-Wednesday from 10am to 5pm, Friday from 2:305:30pm, during the winter (closed on Thursday & holidays).  From April to October, opening and closing times are half an hour later.

Shakhari Bazar:  In the early 17th century, ancestors of the present dwellers started coming to this locality. They were mostly the follower of Bishnu or Krishna. These people were very famous for making "SHAKA" (Bangles from Conch Shell) and the artisans were known as SHAKHARI. The technique used by them was very traditional and unique and now replaced by modern technique. To the Hindus, conch shells are symbol of good fortune and purity. As per the Hindu religion, married woman are to wear conch shell bangles on both wrists and to break them when the husband dies.  Nowadays, Muslim and Christian women wear these bangles as well.  The craft faces an uncertain future. Shells used to come from India and Srilanka is not always available and more and more Hindu women are unable to afford these bangles, opting to buy the much cheaper plastic look a likes.

New market:  The New market was established during 1950's as the oldest complete shopping complex housing, - Jewellery, Bookshop, Ready-made garments, household items, and fresh fish, meat and vegetables including fruits. The fresh fish, meat and vegetable section is very popular to the affluent society as one of the best source.  Customer visiting the new market has declined on the advent of modern markets and shopping complexes in the city.

Dhaka University:  Dhaka University started in 1921 with three faculty, twelve department, sixty teachers, and eight hundred and seventy seven students. Initially there were three residential hall of the university. It grows over the years against lot of hindrances and gained a very prestigious position in the Indian sub-continent within few years. History of Bangladesh is very closely related to the history of the Dhaka University. Since, 1952-1990, all the mass movements originated and lead by the Students. Dhaka University has now 7 Faculty, 46 departments with total number of 30,000 students and 1200 teachers. And there are 18- residential halls.

Parliament building: National Parliament House is located at Sher-e-Bangla Nagar. During the Pakistan regime, considering Dhaka as the second capital, it was approved in 1963 to establish a parliament house. Accordingly it was designed by world famous American architect Mr. Louis I. Khan and the construction started in 1965 but could not be completed due to liberation movement and ensuing war of liberation. Later the remaining construction was completed during the Bangladesh regime.
This distinctive architecture is one of the little renowned architecture in the world.

National museum:  Dhaka museum established in 1913 was renamed as the National museum and shifted to its new building at Shahbag in 1983. It has forty galleries under four departments, namely, (1) Natural history (2) History & classical Art (3) Ethnography and decorative art and (4) Contemporary art and world civilization.  The museum contains a large number of interesting collections of Bangladesh’s Hindu, Buddhist and Mughal past.  Remarkable among the exhibits are; a mat made from Ivory, beautiful and fine embroideries (Nakshikantha), piece of muslin clothes, huge number of black stone images, coins of 2nd & 3rd century B.C and " liberation gallery ".  It is open Saturday-Wednesday from 10am to 4:30pm, Friday from 3-7pm and is closed on Thursday.

Bakharkhani:  It is crispy bread very popular with the people of old part of Dhaka. It is said that the name Bakharkhani is after name of Mr. Bakhar, who first introduced it. Mr. Aga Bakhar or Aga Bakhir khan was a zaminder in the Bakherganj (also named after him) and it is said that he introduced this special bread probably during the mid-1800. Now a days, the people of other districts also like this bread as snack.

Tanga: The horse driven cart or Tanga is a legacy left by the Nawabs and the Mughals. The use of such Tanga for transportation is a decadent one. But only few Tangas are still in operation in the old part of Dhaka.

Rickshaw:  During 1870’s, the first hand-pulled rickshaws were introduced in Japan. By
1890 their numbers reached a peak of 200,000. of which one quarter were in Tokyo. Japan was also the leading manufacturers and exporter. After 1900, rickshaw numbers started to decline in Japan, though they did not disappear there until after the Second World War. But in other Asian countries they continued to increase up to 1920's, which was to be their golden age. Singapore was the first city to use Cycle-rickshaw on a large scale during 1929. Calcutta's First cycle-rickshaws appeared around 1930's and they soon spread to other towns in the hinterland. They reached in Bangladesh in mid-1930's and Dhaka by 1938. By 40-50 years, Cycle rickshaws reached all the districts and towns including villages in Bangladesh. Dhaka, the capital of Bangladesh attracted the people from the rural areas for work and they started pulling Cycle-rickshaw as an easy means for their living. Number of rickshaws increased like anything in Dhaka, as there was no proper control by the Government, ultimately making Dhaka as the city of Rickshaws.  But at present, the Government has imposed lot of restriction on rickshaws about using the roads/streets and trying to restrict rickshaws to lanes and by lanes only.

Mainamati: An isolated eleven mile-long spur of dimpled hills known as the Mainamati-Lalmai range, 8 km west of Comilla and 114 km south east of Dhaka. It was named after the Chandra dynasty King Govinda Chandra's mother. Exploration on this range has revealed over 50 ancient sites dotting the hills, mostly containing various types of Buddhist remains of the 8th to 12th Centuries AD. Excavations revealed interesting and informative finds at a number of sites, locally known as Salban vihara, Itakhula Mura, Rupban Mura, Kutila Mura, Ananda Rajar Badi, Charpatra Mura, and Mainamati Ranir Badi.  Amongst the sites, visitors feel interest mostly on Salban vihara, Itakhula Mura, and Rupban Mura. A site museum just beyond Salban Vihara houses the excavated finds and it is open from10am to 5pm daily from Sunday-Thursday and Friday from 2:30 pm to 5:30pm During October to March, 10:30am to 5:30pm from Sunday to Thursday and Friday from 3pm to 6pm during April to September. It is closed on Saturday.

Sonargaon: Sonargaon (means golden city), 27 km to the east of Dhaka city, which was the capital of Bengal from 13th to early 17th century during the Chandra and Deva dynasty. The Panam was a flourished city in those days. In 1611 the Mughals considered the location too exposed to the Portuguese and the Mogh pirates and thus established Dhaka as their capital. It was very flourished centre both for weaving of the muslins and export to different parts of the world. But nothing of muslin can be found now.
Folklore museum at Sonargaon open from 9am to 5pm every day but Wednesday and Thursday is worth visiting.

Ruposhi village: Ruposhi /Noapara village on the bank of the river Sitalakhya is popularly known as Jamdhanee village, for you will find the most of the houses are engaged in weaving of Jamdhani Saree and Scarf. The weaving of Jamdhani is a handloom industry, and it is done with the similar in the style of muslin. It is known as the hereditary of muslin as it requires fine yarn for weaving and various beautiful designs by colored yarn. These expert weavers can create the design mentally during the weaving of the Sarees. There is no mechanical technique involved.

Savar:  Around 35km from Dhaka is the National Martyr's Monument at Savar. This 50M high and beautifully kept structure was built as memorial of the millions who died in the liberation war during 1971.

Dhamrai: Dhamrai area (1&1/2hrs drive) around 40 km from Dhaka. Once every houses of this village used to be metal craftsman and they used to work with brass. These craftsmen have been in this trade for the last hundreds of years and supplied the greater India with statues for temples, utensils for homes and decoration.  Now only very few families are sticking to it, but depending mainly on orders from overseas.

Kakran: This village is close to Savar and can be reached by boat. Most of the people of this village were used to be Potters, when there was widespread use of pots & utensils made from clay. Now only few families are still trying to hold this profession as their living. But you will be amazed by their traditional technique.
  www.dhakacitytours.blogspot.com  (  tour plan )

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